Today I watched a horse race

Perseverance according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary is: continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure, or opposition: the action or condition or an instance of persevering: steadfastness. 

I got inspiration today the way I almost always get it, unexpected and unusual. Today I was at a restaurant where there was a big flat screen TV on the wall to which I was paying no attention until I saw that the Preakness was about to begin.

The commentators were discussing the different horses and their trainers, and I was watching the interaction between jockey and horse with interest. The march to the track began and before long they were in the gate, eyes kind of wild, nostrils flaring, snorting, they were ready, ready for the race they had been trained to win. The gates burst open and out they came running as if running for their life, perhaps some were. As the camera was shooting them from the front you could see the muscles in their legs, powerful and moving forward, ears back, jockeys standing in their stirrups then it happened, I was watching them running so hard, everyone wanting to be a winner, they had heard the bell and that meant run, win, and they were going for it full force. The jockeys began to apply their whips! They were hitting the horses on their side, these horses who were already going top speed, and with that I burst into uncontrollable tears and sobs welling up from my stomach. The sight of those horses straining, running as hard as they could being whipped to make them go faster kept going on in the theater of my 3-D mind and I continued to cry.

I must have been distracted by that because I didn’t see how one of the horses lost his rider, it didn’t stop him, he continued running as hard as he could. A man in a red jacket went out on his horse to try and catch him but he moved into the middle of the pack and continued to run, he wanted to win,

I got my emotions in check and thought about why it struck me so hard and found the answer close to the surface of my feelings. In this life we are all trying to make it, some just trying to get from month to month and sometimes it seems that the harder we run the runner on the inside drifts over and knocks us out of our lead. Just as we have lost the lead we thought we had someone does something that compares to the jockey hitting the hindquarters of the horse with his whip. We are fighting to do the right thing, trained from our youth to “make it”, we hear the “bell” and like horses we are off to the challenge of life hoping to be the absolute winner, riding off to the winner’s circle!

Galatians 5:7-10 “You were running superbly! Who cut in on you, deflecting you from the true course of obedience? This detour doesn’t come from the One who called you into the race in the first place. And please don’t toss this off as insignificant. It only takes a minute amount of yeast, you know, to permeate an entire loaf of bread. Deep down, the Master has given me confidence that you will not defect. But the one who is upsetting you, whoever he is, will bear the divine judgment.”

1 Cor.9: 24-27 “You’ve all been to the stadium and seen the athletes race. Everyone runs; one wins. Run to win. All good athletes train hard. They do it for a gold medal that tarnishes and fades. You’re after one that’s gold eternally. I don’t know about you, but I’m running hard for the finish line. I’m giving it everything I’ve got. No sloppy living for me! I’m staying alert and in top condition. I’m not going to get caught napping, telling everyone else all about it and then missing out myself.”

Romans 5:4-5 There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!

Don’t give up, don’t let anyone discourage you, when you hear the bell of life ring, run with determination, and perseverance don’t get distracted because you can win!  RUN!

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